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Yelmalio again or Why I Ruined Your Glorantha Redux.

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Forgive me if this has already been covered, but I'm a little confused by the practical significance of Elmal being a subcult of Yelmalio in an in-game sense.  If I have a character who is a member of the Enhyl clan with a high Fire Rune who is into horses, when he goes to worship, does he refer to his god as:

1.  Elmal (however, from a God-Learner perspective and from a RQG rules perspective, it's really Yelmalio);

2.  Elmal, perhaps for historical and cultural reasons, but he understands that Elmal is related to/functionally the same as/subsumed by Yelmalio;

3.  Yelmalio primarily, recognizing that historically his god was often referred to as Elmal;

4.  Elmal with regard to the horse-riding and thane of Orlanth dimension, otherwise Yelmalio; or

5.  Just Yelmalio.

 

Prior to reading this thread, based on the material in the RQG corebook, I assumed the answer was #1.  I interpret Jeff's original post to mean that it is not simply #1.  And I don't think it is #5 given the references in RQG to "temples of Elmal" in the Colymar Tribe lands.  But which of #2 to #4 is correct? 

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44 minutes ago, mjb691 said:

Forgive me if this has already been covered, but I'm a little confused by the practical significance of Elmal being a subcult of Yelmalio in an in-game sense.  If I have a character who is a member of the Enhyl clan with a high Fire Rune who is into horses, when he goes to worship, does he refer to his god as:

As a member of the Enhyli, most likely #2, relying on the description of the clan in the Adventure Booklet of the GM's Screen (page 17).

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If Elmal is "functionally the same as"  Yelmalio, how can it be an ally of Orlanth?

Or, why did Rurik Runespear rant at Biturian Varosh and those Priests have to divorce their wives and try to kill him?

These can't both be true.  Yes, I know it's Glorantha...

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7 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

If Elmal is "functionally the same as"  Yelmalio, how can it be an ally of Orlanth?

Or, why did Rurik Runespear rant at Biturian Varosh and those Priests have to divorce their wives and try to kill him?

These can't both be true.  Yes, I know it's Glorantha...

Yelmalio was at times an ally of Orlanth, sometimes an enemy. Rurik ranted at Biturian because he was performing a heroquest which relates to when Orlanth stole Ernalda away. Despite that (and the Hill of Gold), Yelmalio also notably cooperated with Orlanth and even protected the Vingkotlings and other mortals in the Darkness. Yelmalio's relationships are complex.

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Maybe a Lightfore cult with special cases Yelmalio and Kargzant and mentioning others might be less problematic? The Planetary Son Reladivus that becomes known as Kargzant happens to be the south-eastern Son of Yelm in the Copper Tablets (with Nivorah somehow winding up north of Alkoth due to stronger meandring of the Oslir River on the tablet than on modern maps).

Only three of the eight planetary sons survive Umath's invasion of the sky, and all are changed by it. Verithurusa follows Umath into the near underworld and gets pregnant by him, Shargash emerges as the Red Planet and dismembers Umath beyond reconstitution, releasing the sons of Umath as his heirs, and Reladivus becomes Lightfore, a troubleshooter in the changed world. Still separate from Antirius, BTW. Along with Star Captains, Lightfore leads many a retreat of the forces of light and life, in many different guises.

Antirius remains as the lesser Disk above Raibamus, and has mostly vertical movement, sinking lower and lower. It accompanies the Emperor (or his substitute) to the Hill of Gold twice in its role as the wyter of the Empire, once in preparation of the Dara Happan Dome, once after that dome was broken.

 

Lightfore Kargzant appears in the Gray Age and empowers Jenarong. In return, Jenarong established Lightfore's superiority over Shargash with his resources.

Antirius is recognized as the Sun Disk returning at the Dawn. Lightfore remains in the night sky. This creates a dual existence for Kargzant and Elmal each of whom carries the sun Disk in his chariot during the day and roams the sky at night. No idea what the aldryami have to say about their Yelmalio, and Daysenerus (the Iron Vrok's Yelmalio) wasn't around yet. That entity may have been born during the 375 ST Sun Stop, and then broke the Compromise three years later at the Battle of Night and Day.

 

Unlike Elmal, I don't think that Kargzant had a presence as the last light on a high place in the world (ziggurat, tree, or mountain). Or rather, I am not aware of any high place that could have held that light, after all the ziggurat of Nivorah had been destroyed by Valind's Glacier.

(His light might have rested on the glacier? And then retreated north to Kalikos as the glacier was parted by the Chaos invasion?)

Aldryami Yelmalio might have rested in the crown of the Great Tree(s), and Elmal is known to have maintained a weak and cold light on top of Kero Fin. (Actually aided by Inora?)

Yet both Elmal and Aldryami Yelmalio also were active on the ground/among the Stars (as above, so below) during the Gray Age, just like Kargzant was as his only known manifestation.

 

It remains weird.

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18 hours ago, Tindalos said:

As a member of the Enhyli, most likely #2, relying on the description of the clan in the Adventure Booklet of the GM's Screen (page 17).

I agree with this. My understanding is that in their latest/upcoming iteration, the Elmal worshippers understand the relation between their deity and the "main" deity (Yelmalio) in the same way, say, Barntar initiates understand his relation to Orlanth. They're still going to pray to Elmal/Barntar, tell different tales/myths about it, and get different magic.... but instead of being reckless barbarians (Orlanth) or fanatical hoplites (Yelmalio), they are instead sturdy farmers (Barntar) or, err, I'm not sure what Elmal people are...

Edited by lordabdul
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11 hours ago, Jeff said:

Yelmalio was at times an ally of Orlanth, sometimes an enemy. Rurik ranted at Biturian because he was performing a heroquest which relates to when Orlanth stole Ernalda away. Despite that (and the Hill of Gold), Yelmalio also notably cooperated with Orlanth and even protected the Vingkotlings and other mortals in the Darkness. Yelmalio's relationships are complex.

Complex?  I really like your explanation, it works, and it makes Yelmalio the most amazingly forgiving and altruistic cult in the world.  Orlanth kills your dad, steals you mom, ambushes you on the Hill of Gold, which leads to a hated troll stealing your fire powers, yet, when the world really needs you, you aid Orlanth and help guard his stead.  And you aren't even regaled in the Myths as a big-shot famous "Lightbringer", that honor goes to buffoons like Eurmal.  (Nor do I recall Orlanth ever saying "I'm sorry" or "Thanks, have this Generous Gift for your help"?)

My Orlanthi, even the Vingans, are going to give Yemalians the usual friendly crap upon greeting, then the utmost respect and gratitude and a free drink.  I think a future player may bring in a Yelornan, they are different, not sure how to treat her.

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On the other hand Rodney, Yelmalions suck, they're Frontier Dara Happa. They're easily among the most prejudiced of the Dragon Pass area cultures, they're highly sexist and xenophobic in an explicitly "you are inferior" way. I'd rather say that Vingan is more likely to be knocking out a few teeth of the Yelmalion because he decided to talk down to her than ever giving him a free drink.

They use disproportionately more slaves to cultivate their fields than the surrounding cultures of Dragon Pass with something like a 3-1 slave per Yelmalio initiates ratio. Like I've talked to Ellie about the Vendref of the Grazers, and how they fit into Grazer society, as a semi-free underclass yes, but as ultimately a member of their community, I get none of that impression from Yelmalions and that the Ergeshi are little more than chattel working the fields to the Yelmalions.

The Yelmalions are scheming little back-biters, you might do something to try and get their favor like Tarkalor did, and get a whole lot of "we don't owe you anything" in return for your efforts.

Even if the worshipers of Yelmalio didn't suck, you still have him being the first god to violate the Cosmic Compromise at the Battle of Night and Day as Daysenerus (while modern Yelmalio isn't precisely Daysenerus, Monrogh claimed him to be Yelmalio and Yelmalions treat him as another name for their god).

Like what honor, what oaths can be held as meaningful from him as he was the first to go back on his oath when it suited him? Like this isn't even the case of Yelm and the Sunstop which had outside interference from the Unity Council to stop him, Daysenerus just went back on his oaths when it suited him.

Not even to get into the hilarity of his myths which are essentially "I got my ass handed to me again and again, but that makes me so much purer than you"

Yelmalio is entitlement incarnate, he is the essence of "I deserve this" while never even attempting to acknowledge the efforts or what he owes to others. He is the one "friend" you have that you have a one-sided relationship where you try to please him, but are never acknowledged, because of his abusive narcissism.

Edited by Mirza
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@Mirza wow, tell me how you really feel.  🙂

Question: how many Orlanthi PCs actually know any of that history cosmic compromise  mumbo jumbo about Dayseneros, Monroth, etc? Few.  I expect it to be more like "Gbaji Chaos bad, Arkat smash!".  But they all know about Orlanth killing Yelm and "Elmal" Guarding the Stead.

Our great hero Argrath was just complicit in enslaving the entire Lunar garrison of Pavis, so you can't complain about slavery.  As for the predjudiced sexism, yeah, bad, but how bad depends on your version of Glorantha.  Our group hasn't met any yet.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck

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The point of the Daysenerus part isn't what the Orlanthi know, though I feel as though this info isn't lost to time, it's how Daysenerus acted. It's that because of Monrogh's revelations, this is still something that Yelmalio did. The point is that Yelmalio still sucks on his own actions merits.

Also in the case of Argrath and the Lunar garrison, that's a case of a professional army becoming prisoners of war being taken for slavery with many of the officers being ransomed back, to my knowledge the Ergeshi weren't just the soldiers but entire Kitori clans, non-combatants and children included, being taken as slaves for the rest of their lives as chattel as well as their descendants in permanent bondage. Like one group knew that this was a possible consequence to their actions when they signed up as a soldier, the other not quite so.

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4 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I really like your explanation, it works, and it makes Yelmalio the most amazingly forgiving and altruistic cult in the world.

1 hour ago, Mirza said:

On the other hand Rodney, Yelmalions suck, they're Frontier Dara Happa.

While I totally agree that Yelmalions are horrible people in many ways, it might actually be indirectly because of how much Yelmalio has been treated like shit during the God Time. The Yelmalio cult is the farthest from "forgiving and altruistic", but Yelmalio himself kinda used to be that, I guess?

The more I think about it, the more I see Yelmalio's own character arc as, basically, a "making of a bad guy" arc... like, errr, Syndrome in The Incredibles, for instance. He was the sidekick that nobody bothered giving any credit to, was constantly excluded from the cool people club, kicked down and mocked, and still trying to prove himself. At some point he snapped, started breaking the Compromise and all that, and his initiates turned into this horrible bunch of people who don't want to take any shit from anybody, and are now kicking other people down to make up for it. Frankly, in an alternate Glorantha where, say, the Red Moon was never born, I could see the Yelmalions as the bad guys, a cult who rises to prominence based on their increasingly lucrative mercenary work, until they start turning against their former "customers", taking over and purging all the other cults of deities who were mean to the guy.

Edited by lordabdul
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Yelmalio embodies the Light Rune and the honourable parts of the Truth Rune. As Elmal, he was defeated by Orlanth but spared because Orlanth saw his honour and took him on as a warrior and member of the tribe, an oath he has kept until the present day. As Yelmalio, he is an enemy of Orlanth because Orlanth was not honourable and stole Yelmalio's weapons instead of befriending him. Thus, Elmali will be welcomed by Orlanthi while Yelmalians keep and are kept at arm's length. I wouldn't call Yelmalio forgiving and altruistic, but he is honourable and will respect those who deserve it, like he did as Elmal when he was spared by Orlanth. As Yelmalio, though, he and his cultists are more aloof and prideful as fits the Light rune, owing fealty to none save Yelm.

Edited by Richard S.
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4 hours ago, Mirza said:

the Ergeshi

I'd like to clarify: the Ergeshi are different from other Genertelan slaves because their slavery is inherited by their children. The children of slaves are not slaves - except for the slaves of Yelmalions.

And the Yelmalion curse on the Ergeshi in Sun Country appears to deliberately echo the apologia used by Christians about the reason African-origin slaves could never be free: the children of ergeshi are ergeshi "as long as they are tainted with Darkness". Consider: "In 18th- and 19th-century Euro-America, Genesis 9:18-27 became the curse of Ham, a foundation myth for collective degradation, conventionally trotted out as God's reason for condemning generations of dark-skinned peoples from Africa to slavery,'' "From Noah's Curse to Slavery's Rationale", Felicia R. Lee, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2003

Also, Yelmalions are super misogynistic and don't take kindly to women warriors (or women in general), so so much for that friendly Vingan.

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

...

Also, Yelmalions are super misogynistic and don't take kindly to women warriors (or women in general), so so much for that friendly Vingan.

So the joke goes:  "A Yelornan and a Yelmalian walk into a bar (by opposite doors, duh) and...

everyone else in the bar pisses themselves diving for cover."

Edited by g33k
Hating the mobile-device editor!

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2 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

And the Yelmalion curse on the Ergeshi ... African-origin slaves could never be free: the children of ergeshi are ergeshi "as long as they are tainted with Darkness".

Also, Yelmalions are super misogynistic and don't take kindly to women warriors

I haven't played "official" Glorantha in 30 years, just returned recently with the advent of RQG.  Had no idea about the Ergeshi.  Thanks for the info.

Yelmalio used to be a challenging but very playable PC cult, and Griffin Mountain featured a female Light Son.  One of my Light Son's 3 personal followers was female.  It is very unfortunate that the powers that be have apparently turned it into such a nasty cult that many real world people cannot stomach playing.

I await the new Cults book.  Maybe it will mellow things out.  Otherwise, Our Glorantha will hopefully differ.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck

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44 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I haven't played "official" Glorantha in 30 years, just returned recently with the advent of RQG.  Had no idea about the Ergeshi.  Thanks for the info.

Yelmalio used to be a challenging but very playable PC cult, and Griffin Mountain featured a female Light Son.  One of my Light Son's 3 personal followers was female.  It is very unfortunate that the powers that be have apparently turned it into such a nasty cult that many real world people cannot stomach playing.

I await the new Cults book.  Maybe it will mellow things out.  Otherwise, Our Glorantha will hopefully differ.

I wouldn't say they're completely misogynistic, though I wouldn't be surprised if in general they were a little. It is a solar cult after all, and we all know that in solar culture the woman's place is usually not the battlefield. It probably varies from temple to temple and member to member, but in general I think that the Yelmalians would be more open to the idea of women joining than most other masculine solar cults, either due to distance from the centre of solar power, the influence of surrounding cultures, or just the need for more soldiers. The only one I would describe as totally misogynist would be the Sun Dome County temple on the Zola Fel, and even then there was that one woman that you mentioned that worked her way into it despite the attitudes of her peers. In short, while some temples may look down their noses at female members, it's a merit-based cult so as long as you obey the cult strictures and do your duties there's not much they can do besides sneer. And again, attitudes will vary widely based on where you are, it's just that the Yelmalian culture we have the most insight into, the SDC temple, is also the most conservative and oppressive of them that we know of, so that's what our ideas about the other Yelmalian cultures are coloured by.

Edit: your comment about real-world people not being able to stomach playing it is a bit harsh methinks. Even with people who interpret it as very misogynistic, I usually find it's one of the more popular player cults. Semi-mystic sun hoplite mercenaries are cool, yo.

Edit 2: could Yelnora be seen as a sort of female counterpart to Yelmalio I wonder? I don't personally think so, but now that we're on the topic of female Yelmalians I'm curious as to what other people think.

Edit 3: I really need to start writing this stuff up before I post. I've edited this thing like ten times and it's nearly a whole new message.

Edited by Richard S.

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23 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

...

Edit 2: could Yelnora be seen as a sort of female counterpart to Yelmalio I wonder? I don't personally think so, but now that we're on the topic of female Yelmalians I'm curious as to what other people think.

Very "sort of."  I doubt that more than a handful (in total, from both cults combined) could see it that way.

Most of those would be the wierdo PC's and Illuminates & such.

That said... solar/sky militant purity cults with extreme gender bias, one M one F?  It's hard NOT so "see it that way!"

 

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

I wouldn't say they're completely misogynistic, though I wouldn't be surprised if in general they were a little. It is a solar cult after all, and we all know that in solar culture the woman's place is usually not the battlefield. It probably varies from temple to temple and member to member, but in general I think that the Yelmalians would be more open to the idea of women joining than most other masculine solar cults, either due to distance from the centre of solar power, the influence of surrounding cultures, or just the need for more soldiers. The only one I would describe as totally misogynist would be the Sun Dome County temple on the Zola Fel, and even then there was that one woman that you mentioned that worked her way into it despite the attitudes of her peers. In short, while some temples may look down their noses at female members, it's a merit-based cult so as long as you obey the cult strictures and do your duties there's not much they can do besides sneer. And again, attitudes will vary widely based on where you are, it's just that the Yelmalian culture we have the most insight into, the SDC temple, is also the most conservative and oppressive of them that we know of, so that's what our ideas about the other Yelmalian cultures are coloured by.

Edit: your comment about real-world people not being able to stomach playing it is a bit harsh methinks. Even with people who interpret it as very misogynistic, I usually find it's one of the more popular player cults. Semi-mystic sun hoplite mercenaries are cool, yo.

Edit 2: could Yelnora be seen as a sort of female counterpart to Yelmalio I wonder? I don't personally think so, but now that we're on the topic of female Yelmalians I'm curious as to what other people think.

Edit 3: I really need to start writing this stuff up before I post. I've edited this thing like ten times and it's nearly a whole new message.

The Yelmalio cult itself is not particularly misogynistic. Men and women can become initiates, Light Servants, Light Priests, and Light Sons. Men are not allowed to disguise themselves as women, but women are allowed to disguise themselves as men. Ernalda, not Dendara, is an associated cult. I don't think the main cult is any more or less misogynistic than the Elmal subcult.

The cult does have a deserved reputation for being aloof and tends to view outsiders as unclean. Its policy of offering sanctuary to any who seek it is a huge source of resent and distrust. Then again, the cult is willing to hire out its cultists to fight in the wars of others (although always at a price).

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49 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The Yelmalio cult itself is not particularly misogynistic. Men and women can become initiates, Light Servants, Light Priests, and Light Sons. Men are not allowed to disguise themselves as women, but women are allowed to disguise themselves as men. Ernalda, not Dendara, is an associated cult. I don't think the main cult is any more or less misogynistic than the Elmal subcult.

The cult does have a deserved reputation for being aloof and tends to view outsiders as unclean. Its policy of offering sanctuary to any who seek it is a huge source of resent and distrust. Then again, the cult is willing to hire out its cultists to fight in the wars of others (although always at a price).

I guess I'm biased from Prax, because the Mo Baustra writeup was kind of the Platonic ideal of Sun Domery for me - unsurprising given the crucial role those great Prax books had for Glorantha fans! I guess you're saying they are outliers?

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2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

Edit 2: could Yelnora be seen as a sort of female counterpart to Yelmalio I wonder? I don't personally think so, but now that we're on the topic of female Yelmalians I'm curious as to what other people think.

I don't really see it; Yelorna is a star and just because her cult is also solar and cooperates with Yelmalions doesn't make her Yelmalio's counterpart. I also don't see how their roles are particularly complementary - "sun cult involving horse warriors" is like 90% of solar religions.

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1 minute ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I guess I'm biased from Prax, because the Mo Baustra writeup was kind of the Platonic ideal of Sun Domery for me - unsurprising given the crucial role those great Prax books had for Glorantha fans! I guess you're saying they are outliers?

Of course the little Sun Dome community removed for centuries from Dragon Pass and Peloria is an outlier.

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Just now, Jeff said:

Of course the little Sun Dome community removed for centuries from Dragon Pass and Peloria is an outlier.

well okay i can see that now but it's also the cult writeup of Yelmalio, like, with deets and facts and structure. hard not to extrapolate?

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